As the privacy debate continues, Google has begun the process of encrypting its traffic between its data centers. This tactic is aimed at stopping widespread surveillance of its inner network by the joint National Security Agency-GCHQ program known as MUSCULAR. The pressure is certainly mounting, with regards to the privacy debate. On Wednesday the Guardian reported that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, has described the tactics of the spy agencies as both “appalling and foolish”, and has called for a full and frank public debate.
As far as I am concerned, public reaction to the revelations which continue to occur, can be compared to a frog slowly being boiled in water. And we all know what happens to the frog at the end of the boiling process.
Google’s security engineer Mike Hearn used his Google+ account to inform us about the changes and share his feelings about the way the NSA has handled the situation and the information contained in slides published by the Washington Post originally leaked by Edward Snowden:
“The packet capture shown in these new NSA slides shows internal database replication traffic for the anti-hacking system I worked on for over two years. Specifically, it shows a database recording a user login as part of this system: http://googleblog.blogspot.ch/2013/02/an-update-on-our-war-against-account.html
Recently +Brandon Downey , a colleague of mine on the Google security team, said (after the usual disclaimers about being personal opinions and not speaking for the firm which I repeat here) – “f*** these guys”:
I now join him in issuing a giant F*** *** to the people who made these slides. I am not American, I am a Brit, but it’s no different – GCHQ turns out to be even worse than the NSA”.
The slides indicate that the NSA over time gained an intimate understanding of the internal operations of the networks they spied upon and that data were included in intelligent briefings provided to President Obama. According to Arstechnica: The NSA created sets of “defeats” that allowed it to screen multiple types of traffic at Yahoo and Google for identifying “fingerprints” in data—keywords or identifying elements in the traffic within those networks that it associated with individuals or organizations of interest.
Hayden Richards is Contributor of IntelligentHQ. He specialises in finance, trading, investment, and technology, with expertise in both buy-side, sell-side. Contributing and advising various global corporations, Hayden is a thought leader, researching on global regulatory subjects, digital, social media strategies and new trends for Businesses, Capital Markets and Financial Services.
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